His Grace Archbishop Felix Machado, today took over as the new Bishop of Vasai.

The Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, issued a decree on Nov. 10 in the Vatican, appointing him as the Bishop of Vasai.

Archbishop Dr. Machado took charge of Vasai Diocese, made vacant by the first Bishop of Vasai, Most Reverend Thomas Dabre, who was appointed to the Sea of Pune by the Pontiff on April 4.

The induction ceremony of Archbishop Dr. Machado was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace, Papdy here and was witnessed by thousands of Catholics of Vasai.

His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bombay Archdiocese, oversaw the change of guard.

Bishop Dr. Dabre was felicitated for his work during last 11 years as the first Bishop of Vasai Diocese. Bishop Dabre is known for his study of Sant Tukaram.

The arrival of Christianity in Vasai, a tehsil in Thane district, dates back to the first century. It is said Bartholomew, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, visited Kalyan for the purpose of evangelisation.

Vasai has witnessed a steady growth of Christian faith over the last 500 years, through various dynasties and foreign rulers like Portuguese and the British during the past five hundred years.